Do Men & Women Have Wild or Romantic Fantasies?
Whose fantasies are more romantic? Women’s or men’s?
Who is more likely to fantasize about sex with strangers?
Or multiple partners?
Or simply someone who isn’t your spouse?
To find out I used University of Montréal research — which looked at how common different sorts of fantasies were — in order to do a gender comparison.
1,517 Quebec adults (mean age 30) ranked 55 fantasies and described their favorite in detail. 85% of respondents were straight, 3.6% were gay/lesbian and the rest were none-of-the-above.
Women were more likely than men to say that they never wanted to do some of their fantasies in real life — especially domination and submission, which I will discuss later.
Below are the percentages of women and men who have had each fantasy.
A strong romantic streak
Looks like men and women are both pretty darn romantic with around 90% agreeing that, “I like to feel romantic emotions during a sexual relationship.”
But women seem a bit more inclined, with 92% agreeing, compared with 88% of men.
I like to feel romantic emotions during a sexual relationship: Women: 92, Men: 88
And high numbers of each gender fantasize about sex in romantic locations, at least sometimes:
Romantic location: Women 85, Men 78
Sex with strangers
Having sex with an unknown person: Women: 49, Men: 73
Sexual swinging with a couple I don’t know: Women 27, Men 40
Petting with a stranger in a public place, like a metro: Women 20, Men 48
Having sex with a prostitute or stripper: Women 13, Men 40
But when it came to famous strangers, men and women match up more closely.
Having sex with a star or well-known person: Women 52, Men 62
This reminds me of another study which found women uninterested in real-life casual sex with strangers — except famous, sexy celebs like Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp. In that case they were just as enthusiastic as men were, given the opportunity for sex with Angelina Jolie.
Researchers wondered what made the difference? Was it (presumed) sexual capability, status, warmth, faithfulness, likely gift-giving, worries about danger, STDs or mental illness?
Turned out that the only things that mattered were worries about violence and, especially, a belief that the guy would be good in bed. Johnny and Brad seem both safe and sensual. And liaisons with sexy superstars would do wonders for the ego, too.
I’ve written before about how sexual repression dampens the female sex drive. As a result, it takes more to get women interested. Great sex and an ego boost seem to “do it” for most women in both fantasy and in real life scenarios.
Sex with someone you know who isn’t your spouse
Switching from strangers to a friend or acquaintance who isn’t a spouse, women become much more
interested. In fact, they’re more likely to fantasize about a guy they know than a movie star: 66% versus 52% for celebrities.
But men are still way more interested than women:
Having sex with someone that I know who is not my spouse: Women: 66, Men: 83
Multiple partners, anyone?
Men are more likely to fantasize about group sex. But I won’t cite specific scenarios here because it gets into questions of sexual flexibility (an individual’s interest in opposite versus same-sex sex) which I’ll discuss in an upcoming post.
Whether swinging, threesomes or orgies, women’s interest generally hovered in the mid-20% to mid-30% range, while men’s enthusiasm ranged from 40% to 80%.
Excluding two questions which are outliers (which I will discuss in an upcoming post) here’s the average interest in various fantasies involving multiple-partners:
Multiple partners of various types, mean: Women 28, Men 57
Evolution or Socialization?
While both women and men can be very romantic in their fantasies, men are more sexually adventurous when it comes to sex with strangers and multiple partners.
Some will say it’s due to evolution: men best reproduce by widely spreading their seed and women best reproduce by being more picky and latching onto one man who can provide resources for her children. But how can men have sex with a lot of different women if each woman is latched onto just one partner — or just a very few?
And in some cultures both women and men have sex with a lot of partners — or at least they did until Christians came along and turned their society upside down.
Also, only behavior — and not fantasy — could create a biological difference. You can’t widely “spread your seed” to create promiscuous males if you only do it in your mind. And when men and women are hooked up to (what they think is) a lie detector, their sex partner numbers are the same.
At the same time, we know that women’s sexuality is much more repressed in our society. And when sexuality is repressed, it takes a lot more to get you interested.
So there is a gender difference. But I wouldn’t pin it on biology.
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